Welcome to The Rotation! This is a weekly column, written by yours truly, that talks about the wonderful blended worlds of baseball and music. These two have been staples of Americana for centuries and are as big a part of our culture as apple pie and Chevrolet. My goal is to pick a different topic between the beautiful, unified world of baseball and music and write about it each week.
The trade deadline came and went, and for a brief moment it looked like one of the most boring deadlines in recent memory. Then, in the blink of an eye, multiple high-profile players were traded – including Zack Greinke, Nicholas Castellanos and Shane Greene, who joined Trevor Bauer, Yasiel Puig, Marcus Stroman, Franmil Reyes, Tanner Roark, Roenis Elias, Sam Dyson, Scooter Gennett and Mike Leake among fantasy relevant names who were dealt. Whew.
In honor of the deadline passing, I picked a few teams and gave them a song to remember their trade deadline by.
Rating the Trade Deadline, in Song form
Some team’s made out like bandits at this year’s deadline, while others seemed to fall short of expectations, or just straight up forgot the deadline had passed. Here is a list of team’s and a song title that best describes their performance (or lack of performance) at the deadline.
New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox: Standing Still (Jewel)
Everyone and their mom knew that the Yankees need starting pitching and the Red Sox need bullpen help. Yet when the dust settled on July 31, neither team made a move to shore up those key positions. Maybe they felt that injured players returning would give them enough of a boost. Maybe they made offers but felt the asking price was too steep. Maybe they knew Houston was getting Greinke and figured it wasn’t worth it.
Regardless, the theme of their deadline day is Jewel’s 2001 classic, Standing Still. Their respective fan bases better hope that this gamble pays off, else these general managers will be left wondering Who will Save Their Soul (I’m so sorry).
Detroit Tigers: It’s Not Enough (Starship)
Tigers general manager Al Avila has been a pariah for Detroit fans ever since he took over from Dave Dombrowski, although that has predominantly been unfair. He took over right as the team went into a rebuild, so while he is responsible for dealing many of the team’s legends, it isn’t entirely his fault. Plus, many of his moves have yet to pay dividends, but it is possible some of his trades will work out better than they appear so far.
However, this year’s deadline felt underwhelming. He dealt both Shane Greene and Nicholas Castellanos, to the Braves and Cubs respectively.
The return for Castellanos included two right-handed pitchers, Paul Richan and Alex Lange. Richan slotted in at No. 19 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list for the Tigers, while Lange came in at No. 29.
For Greene, the team acquired left-hander Joey Wentz and outfielder Travis Demeritte. Wentz slots in at No. 11 and Demeritte goes unranked, although he was having a very nice season at Triple-A prior to the trade (137 wRC+ and 20 home runs).
Still, Greene is one of the highest-performing relievers in the game, and while Castellanos is a pure rental who is limited defensively, it felt like he still could have commanded more than a pair of fringe right-handers.
Thus, they get rewarded(?) with Starship’s 1989 classic It’s Not Enough. In addition to the title describing how many Tigers fans feel, many of the lyrics could be a poetic version of Avila’s press conference:
“We can make it last if we hold on till tomorrow
Or will we throw it away
Empty words you say you want to please me”
Houston Astros: Ace of Spades (Motorhead)
Or should I say Aces in spades? The Astros weren’t messing around this year, adding superstar right-hander Zack Greinke to an already loaded rotation that features Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley. The team also went out and nabbed Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini to shore up the bullpen, although Sanchez is an option to start as well.
The team is as ace-heavy as they get, and Motorhead’s heavy metal jam from 1980 certainly captures the speed and relentlessness that Houston’s new rotation will be firing at the rest of the AL – riding their way into a potential World Series championship.
San Francisco Giants: Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealer’s Wheel)
The San Francisco Giants couldn’t decide whether to buy or sell this year – so they did both. The Giants dealt away four pitchers: Mark Melancon, Drew Pomeranz, Ray Black, Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson, while also acquiring infielder Scooter Gennett and most importantly, not dealing away closer Will Smith and starter Madison Bumgarner.
The Giants had a hot month of July, which kept them in contention enough to try to make another run at things in 2019.
This weird middle ground has them stuck, hence the reference to Stealer’s Wheel’s 1972 classic.
Let’s hope that San Francisco can play this song without thinking of it’s most famous pop culture reference; this scene in Quentin Tarantino’s classic film Reservoir Dogs. (Graphic).
Washington Nationals: Shut the Door (House of Pain)
The Washington Nationals had a very clear need heading into deadline season. They had one of the worst bullpens in the entire league, and desperately needed to clean it up if they wanted to have any chance at a World Series berth this year. They did exactly that, hi-jacking two relievers from Seattle – Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland – while also nabbing Toronto’s Daniel Hudson.
The goal for them is to shut the door, which is they they have been christened by House of Pain’s song of the same name. House of Pain is known almost exclusively for their stadium rock jam Jump Around, which is what the players hope to be doing on a field in October with their new bullpen pieces.
Walk-Up Songs of the Week
I decided to continue my trade deadline theme for this week, and all the players featured below were dealt in the past few days.
Note: If you want a playlist of all the walk-up songs of the week, go to Spotify and search “Pitcher List Walk-Up Jams”
Hitter: Corey Dickerson, Edge of Darkness (Greta Van Fleet)
Pitcher: Mark Melancon and A.J. Minter, Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
Thunderstruck is about the most boring walk-out song you can have, and I bet just about every team has a reliever who comes out to this. The Braves now apparently have two, after acquiring Melancon from the Giants. Melancon and left-hander A.J. Minter both have used AC/DC’s metal classic this season.
Seniority says that Melancon will probably get to keep it, and performance this season would indicate the same. So perhaps Minter will pick something a little more original, like TNT, Back in Black or (god forbid) Hell’s Bells?
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)